The United States and other nations called on Pakistan to stop holding up work at the international Conference on Disarmament, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Aug. 13).
After a deadlock of more than a decade, the 65-state conference in May agreed on a work plan that was expected to address issues such as a fissile material cutoff treaty, a prohibition on space-based weapons and global nuclear disarmament. Pakistan earlier this month, citing security issues, demanded additional consideration of the plan.
The move amounts to "procedural fault finding," said Garold Larson, U.S. envoy to the body in Geneva. Security matters could be considered during the talks, he added during a session of statements to the conference, the permanent forum for international talks on disarmament.
"We therefore are left wondering as to the motivations of those who have blocked agreement since we reconvened in early August," Larson said.
"The international community is watching and will draw the correct conclusions as to whether the CD is to regain its relevance and stature as the world's multilateral negotiating forum, or revert to inertia and the failed patterns of the past," he added.
Other delegates also made their concerns known.
"We must do it, we must start work" at the earliest possible date, said Chinese envoy Wang Guangya.
"In our view this is a compromise that is sufficiently balanced and should be acceptable to everyone," said Russian delegate Valery Loschinin.
"The CD is on a cliff," said Japanese representative Akio Suda.
Pakistan remained unmoved, AFP reported.
Opposition to the work plan as it stands "remains our official and formal stance," said Islamabad's delegate, Zamir Akram (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, Aug. 20).